Suburban Birds (Jiao Qu de Niao)
$12 General Admission
A striking debut from China’s Qiu Sheng, Suburban Birds is a tantalizing mystery and a bittersweet coming-of-age comedy rolled into one. Hao (Mason Lee) is part of a team of young engineers called in to investigate a series of craters that have opened up on the edge of the city. As he and his team survey the subsiding area, another story is taking place in the same suburban landscape. A younger boy, also named Hao, spends long afternoons playing with friends and making mischief until one-by-one, his playmates start to disappear. As these parallel stories unfold, the connections between them proliferate and grow stranger.
With virtuosic assurance, Qiu employs distinct styles for each of the two narrative strands and unites them with a wry and wistful sense of humor. Suburban Birds is both a reflection on the slippery nature of memory as well as a comment on China’s rapid urbanization that heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice.
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“Viewers… may feel at once cast adrift in the film’s amorphous quests, and languidly seduced by its disorder.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
“Recalling Stand By Me, Jia Zhangke and David Lynch, [Suburban Birds] announces Qui as an astute chronicler of early adolescence and a filmmaker of promising lyrical vision.” – Patrick Dahl, Screen Slate